Ever-ready: Retired Shropshire teacher is a true pace-maker

A retired Shropshire teacher has been given a new lease of life thanks to cutting-edge heart implant technology from the US.

Mark Lawton on a cruise to the US, where his heart implant device was developed
Mark Lawton on a cruise to the US, where his heart implant device was developed

The case of Mark Lawton, from Little Stretton, is being flagged up as a technology icon after he was fitted with a device to keep his heart stable that has a battery life of up to a decade – three times longer than the life span of his previous implant.

It means instead of having to undergo surgery every three years, the 61-year-old former teacher and IT consultant can now go 10 without the need for medical intervention.

Two years after having the new device – called the Boston Scientific Inogen X4 cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator – fitted, he has been told it still has eight years power left.

Now British healthcare guidance body NICE has recommended the longer-lasting battery technology for implantable heart rhythm devices, as it could save the NHS around £6 million over five years through fewer operations to replace the devices.

Mr Lawton has had ongoing heart related issues for a number of years arising from improper electrical activity in the ventricles of the heart.

In December 2015, he was fitted with the Boston Scientific device at the New Cross Hospital, run by the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust.

He said his previous device had only lasted three years. When I had the previous device fitted, I wasn’t aware of how long the battery would last,” he said. I knew it had to be replaced, but I was shocked to discover that it had to be replaced so soon after having it fitted.

“I was delighted to hear that I could be fitted with a battery with a longer life span. It meant that I was less anxious about the new battery as it meant I didn’t have to keep coming back to hospital every few years to be refitted.

“It meant I didn’t have to have surgery to replace the device so often, which can lead to other complications such as an increased risk of infection.”

Mark now feels more reassured with the new battery and can get on with doing the things he loves.

At his last check up, Mark was advised that the battery in his device still had seven to eight years left. With the new device fitted, he and his wife are free to enjoy their retirement.

Mr Lawton said he has a passion for travelling the world, goes on two to three cruises a year and enjoys his holiday home on Anglesey.

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